U.S. Says Over 30,000 Wagner Group Mercenaries Killed In Ukraine – National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby revealed the scale of The Wagner Group’s losses in Ukraine this week, suggesting that in just the last few weeks alone, more than 9,000 private Wagner mercenaries have been killed on the battlefield.
RIP, Wagner Group?
White House officials also say that more than 30,000 private fighters have been killed since the beginning of the war.
Speaking to reporters this week, Kirby said that despite the massive losses, Wagner Group has made incremental gains in the Bakhmut region over the last few days. The gains have been hard-fought-for, Kirby said, adding that it took months for Wagner fighters to make any kind of significant advance in the region and that it had a “devastating cost” that is not sustainable in the long term.
“It is possible that they may end up being successful in Bakhmut, but it will prove of no real worth to them because it is of no real strategic value,” Kirby said.
British intelligence officials agree that, while Wagner Group has lost a substantial number of troops, the real figure may actually be much higher than the United States’ estimations.
According to the British Ministry of Defence, as many as 60,000 Wagner Group fighters may have died in the war so far, and up to 200,000 may have been injured.
Why Did So Many Die?
Wagner is known for its brutality on the battlefield.
Private mercenaries have been accused of committing war crimes throughout the war in Ukraine, including raping and killing civilians.
Other Wagner soldiers have used sledgehammers to assassinate Ukrainian prisoners of war – and this brutality from Wagner isn’t always aimed at the Ukrainians.
Wagner leaders have depended heavily on the support of thousands of prison recruits, many of whom were reportedly sent into battle without sufficient training and equipment.
Russian convicts themselves have told Western media outlets that the Russian Ministry of Defense is allowing prisoners to be recruited by Wagner Group and sent onto the battlefield as “cannon fodder.”
One Russian convict by the name of Viktor Sevalnev said in an audio clip obtained by CNN that he is being “taken” to the battlefield to be killed.
“I am being taken to be shot. I lost a lot of people there. Remember this: do not send people here. It’s enough, they want to kill us all,” Sevalnev says in the clip.
Wagner’s losses, however, have likely peaked now that the organization’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has confirmed that the number of private mercenaries sent to fight in Ukraine will be lowered dramatically.
Prigozhin also confirmed that Wagner has ceased recruiting convicts.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.